The Older I Get

We’re all getting older.  The alternative sucks!  I don’t know about you, but time moves forward and I don’t really notice that I’m getting older.  I notice that my kids are aging more than myself.  When I look at old pics I think, wow, I was young then.   I don’t feel that much different.  Oh sure,  my joints are a little stiffer. I get tired earlier than I used to.  I eat well, not too much fat or sugar, rarely junk food, try to incorporate more and more fruit and veg into my diet.  I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, wine with dinner, the occasional margarita at the local Mexican restaurant.  I’m certainly not a fanatic about what I eat.  I can’t eat a lot of gluten, not because it’s a trend, but because it seriously plays with my stomach.

margarita

I wrote before about getting rid of stuff.  I’m working on it because I look around and, man, we have accumulated a lot of stuff over forty two years of marriage.  I have to arrange it and dust it, etc.  Now is the time in our life where we’re actually thinking of simplifying and minimizing.  My oldest daughter finds it amusing, she told me about an article saying that baby boomers are trying to pass all of their stuff onto their children who do not want it.  I understand that.  There are a few family things that I explained they were going to have to share because it’s our history.  The rest is going on Ebay!

I am a thinker.  Not a genius, but I think about things.  All sorts of things, constantly.  My husband picks up on some of my ideas, not all of them.  Then he’ll think about them too, different scenarios about our future.  Last night he said to me these classic words, “Do you ever, in that squirrel cage of a brain of yours, ever think about…”.  And that’s it, in a nutshell (no pun intended).  My thoughts go round and round.  Not in a crazy sort of way and not in a brilliant sort of way.  They just don’t stop, one thought leads to another.  I used to think everyone has this thought process, but my husband, siblings and friends tell me it’s not so.  I don’t have ADHD, I don’t have rambling thoughts, they have a purpose.   I’ve thought about it a lot, haha.  It’s because I’m curious and interested in pretty much everything.  Even if I’m not at all interested in a thing, like sports say, I’m still interested in the history of it.  I find the personalities of competitive people very interesting.  Not so much sports for what it is.  My husband is a drag racer, but I think, who cares who gets to the end of the track first?  I would think building the car and driving it is the fun part.  The part that’s exciting because you came up with an idea for the car,  bought it,  modified it and get the joy of successfully driving it down the track.  Anyway,  I’ve just always thought about any sport as challenging yourself, to get better.  Not to annihilate the other guy.

tv

Now this may seem like a bunch of rambling thoughts put together in one post but it does have a purpose.  At this juncture of our lives, what’s on our mind more than anything else is the future.  Are we going to have enough retirement money?  Are we going to stay healthy?   I remember a dear aunt of mine. suffering from bone cancer, telling me that the golden years aren’t so golden.  My husband and I look at some of our friends that are now retired and sit at home all day watching TV with bottles of medication on the side table.  I also remember another aunt and my own dear father, losing their partner and then having to go on alone.

It’s all so sad and has made us want to do something with whatever time and energy we have left.  I am researching a temporary move to England.   My husband shares my love of the island for many reasons; good friends, familiar culture, they even have drag racing.  Now we are throwing around the decision to sell our home and find a place out of the chaos when we return.  When you get to a certain age, you start looking for a bit of calm.  (We live in the suburbs, but there is still a lot of traffic, high taxes, constant noise and sirens).  Should we rent it out for a year or just go for three months and rely on neighbors and our security system to keep it safe?  Then there are the grandchildren,  can we be away from them for a long stretch, knowing it’s temporary?

travel poster

It’s a big decision and a lot of research and questions to answer.  I’m happy that my husband feels the way I do.  We don’t want to become old farts, sitting in front of the TV eating our meals off of a tray and no gumption to go out and see the world.  England is the perfect place to use as a base and then spend a few days in France, Amsterdam, Spain,  or Italy.  We aren’t rich, but aren’t afraid to do something like work away,  where you go to someone’s house to work a few hours a day on remodeling or gardening in exchange for room and board.  I do have retirement money and social security to draw on and use for something that will enrich our lives, not wait in case one of us gets sick.  Most times people don’t do something like this because they want to leave it to their children.  I can thank my dad for this gem “I worked for it, why should I leave it to you”.   That may sound harsh,  but you are doing well by your children if they understand not to expect anything from you.  Then when you leave them whatever is left, it’s the icing on the cake along with your influence to live your life to the fullest!

sunset

 

Minimalism

Lately, I’ve been noticing that through my forty two years of marriage, three daughters and too many moves, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. I move it around, dust it, occasionally look at it, but I don’t use most of it anymore. It’s just my stuff.  My mother in-law is a hoarder in the true sense of the word. Now, she’ll tell you the reason is that she grew up during the depression and she never wants to “do without” again. It would be nice if that were all it was.  Unfortunately, like most hoarders, the real reason was tragedy. After losing her youngest to a drunk driver, she’s gotten rid of nothing, and I do mean nothing.
hoarder
The really strange thing about all of the thoughts about my stuff these last few months is that a documentary appeared on my Netflix search called Minimalism. I didn’t search for it, neither did my husband. I thought, maybe my visiting youngest did. Here for her baby shower, we had the conversation about not buying the baby a lot of stuff. She doesn’t need it. But no, she didn’t search for it either, even though I tried to thank her for it.   I’m going to go with benevolent forces helping me out!
                                                     minimalism
Both my husband and I have vowed for years now, not to keep things like his mother does. Still, over time, you do keep a lot of stuff. Nostalgia? Maybe. Laziness? Sometimes. I think the most likely reason is habit. It’s always been around so why get rid of it now. It has memories, the kids might want it. Wrong! They don’t, I asked them. They think most of it’s junk.
 junk
Here’s my solution: Divide and conquer. And I start this weekend. Sure, there are a few things that belonged to parents and grandparents that, because it means so much to me, I want to pass them down. So my idea is to take those things, photograph them and email an explanation of who it belonged to and what it means to me, to each of my kids. Then, I’m going to let them choose what they honestly want to have. I’m going to give whatever it is to them right away. I may ask the nieces and nephews if they would like anything that’s left at an upcoming reunion.
After that, I will need to honestly evaluate. Is it useful to me, do I love it or is it just here? If it’s just here it’s going on Ebay! Seriously, it’s just stuff. I have fond memories not to mention the DNA that my ancestors gave me. I certainly can’t take it with me, so I might as well get some value out of it.
cottage
We’re at an age where retiring is just around the corner. I’d love to move to a little two bed, two bath cottage in a rural setting. I’d like to have less stuff to move and clean. I’d like to enjoy the people I love and experiences more than living with all this stuff. Anyone else feeling the same? I’d love to hear your ideas and solutions.  Cheers!